Has Infantilism Become a Norm?

Has Infantilism Become a Norm?

Views on human age need to be revisited. The value of adulthood as a period of certainty has declined for many, which means that this period is being delayed. The processes of personality development vary, and adults are preserving signs of infantilism. HSE University experts, Elena Sabelnikova and Natalia Khmeleva, suggest a new way of looking at the phenomenon of infantilism in their paper Infantilism: Theoretical Construct and Operationalization which avoids a ‘judgemental’ approach.

Delaying adulthood is a response to the new reality, many scholars believe. Everything is changing, from the set of competencies and jobs (some of them are disappearing while the others are evolving), to relationships.

A number of new ‘ways to live’ have been discovered. Alternative models of adulthood have evolved. People’s life courses have become unpredictable. For example, people earn a degree, work, and then study again and change their profession. People can leave their parents’ home, but then come back and extend their ‘childhood’. Meanwhile, the range of life opportunities is too wide, which can be disorienting and make it difficult to make a choice.

Educational choices have an ‘unknown expiration date’ (due to the unclear future of professions) and, according to psychologist Alexandra Bochaver, cause lack of confidence. As a result, young people tend to become escapist and delay important decisions. Instead of choosing a strategy, they limit themselves to tactical solutions in various spheres of life and delay their final (‘adult’) choices.

Source: Infantilism as a norm


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